UPDATE 3-Fourteen banks endorse Brazil's Oi share plan -sources
By Luciana Bruno and Guillermo Parra-Bernal
RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, March 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian telecommunications company Grupo Oi SA lined up firm commitments from as many as 14 banks to buy up to 6 billion reais (US$2.5 billion) in an upcoming share offering, two sources with direct knowledge said on Tuesday.
Grupo BTG Pactual SA leads the group, which includes Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Banco Espírito Santo SA , Banco do Brasil SA, Banco Bradesco SA , Caixa Geral de Depositos SA, Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Morgan Stanley & Co, and Banco Santander Brasil SA, said the two sources, who requested anonymity because the deal is private.
Bank of America, Goldman, Citigroup and Bradesco declined to comment. The other 10 banks did not have an immediate comment on the matter.
The banks will subscribe to Oi shares in accordance with their mandate in the share offering, one of the sources said.
Common shares of Oi closed up 5.4 percent on Tuesday, their biggest daily gain since Jan. 3. The stock dropped 6 percent last week on speculation that Oi had failed to secure financial backing for the offering.
Analysts have said that without significant support from the banks the offering could likely founder. Capital markets activity in Brazil, including initial public offerings and share offerings, is off to its worst annual start since at least 2004.
The transaction is part of a plan by Oi to merge with Portugal Telecom SGPS SA, which is under scrutiny from minority shareholders. Continuación...